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Hiring a Diverse Workforce: Breaking Traditional Hiring Boundaries

October 20th, 2020

Not finding the diverse candidate pool you had hoped for? Review your sourcing process.

Diverse workforces deliver better results, attract better talent, and are better innovators.

Yet, more than three quarters of technology talent in computing-based roles are occupied by men, despite women making up more than 47% of the workforce. Likewise, Wired reports that in 2017, only 9% of graduating students with CS degrees were black and 10% were Latinx.

Over the past 15 years, major organizations have poured money and time into interviewing (and ultimately hiring) a diverse employee base.  But very little has changed significantly across the board. 

So how do we attract a more diverse and well-qualified candidate base? Even if we are actively demanding more BIPOC and women– we are likely impeding our own success simply through our traditional hiring and interviewing practices. A truly diverse search includes reviewing traditional boundaries like location, education, and experience.

As recruiters, building a relationship with our clients and candidates is the bedrock to successful placements. Our goal is to make the right match, and much of that match comes from the details and step-by-step process that helps us to give you, the client, what you want in an efficient and effective manner.

So, what should be looking for in a technology staffing agency, especially when you are committed to interviewing a more diverse candidate base?

Details, Details, Details

There is no replacement for an in-person meeting; or mid-pandemic, a video call — to nail down the details of a job. A job description can only tell you so much about the actual job and tells you very little about the ideal candidate beyond specific skills.

The right staffing agency is going to pick apart the job description, drilling down from broad organizational goals to very specific technical needs.

This initial intake call also gives clients the opportunity to tell us who they are looking for beyond the technical expertise. This is the first opportunity to discuss what diversity looks like to you and how to execute a plan to get to the right hire.

Internal questions could include:

What does the team make up look like? Are they remote? In-person? Who runs the team? Talk to me about the group’s cohesion. When was the last time someone new joined the team? Are they still there?

Then, we move to questions about the candidate:

What kind of person do you want to hire? Do they have specific industry experience? What about their educational background or professional experience? Would you prefer someone with a side hustle and a passion for their work? What is a show-stopper or deal-breaker?

These questions lay the foundation and force you to dig beyond surface. From covering remote-opportunities to flexible working schedules or requirements – analyzing your job description forces a closer look at whom you are targeting or not targeting from the get-go. You could miss out on the right person without realizing it when your job description doesn’t encourage a diverse candidate pool.

Attracting a More Diverse Candidate Pool

Not finding the person that you need? The right technical staffing agency can help you to discover where you may be missing out on additional talent.

Consider some of the following:

  • Is your talent pool restricted to one geographic area?  If so, consider the impact of hiring some remotely. Do they need to be in the same city, state, or time zone? What kind of flexibility are you willing to offer for the right skills?
  • Does your job description or requirements screen-out rather than screen-in? Your requirement for an Ivy League CS degree excludes HBCUs or exceptionally talented engineers who chose bootcamps over traditionally expensive college settings.
  • Is the requirement for professional experience at an organization of a certain type or size limiting you to a certain background rather than people who are truly passionate about their craft who spend their free time learning for their own benefit?
  • Are you restricting yourself to specific years of professional experience? Some of the most efficient  & effective employees are those who spend time outside of work doing projects and perfecting their craft. So — are you hiring an employee for who they are now or who they can be in the right company and team? Putting hard requirements on years on professional experience can limit candidates who may find themselves over or under the threshold.

The Changing Landscape

Over the past several months, the contrast between the rise and fall of companies has been dramatic. Many have lost jobs, while others have thrived in industries that could weather the pandemic. But no matter the situation, we have all found pause to re-evaluate what we do, how we do it, and with whom we do it. 

Within technology teams, many organizations found that they can, in fact, function successfully with a remote workforce. And those that are hiring again after layoffs can reconsider their traditional hiring practices.

This jolt to our norm has acted as a reset. It has opened up opportunities to explore talent that may never have been considered before.

Consider taking stock of how you use your technology staffing agency to meet these new goals.  Does a contingency-based service work for you? Or are you looking for an agency that acts as an extension of your TA; a retained search partnership that can provide you with a dedicated team who knows you and your diversity goals?

Hiring the Right Candidate

Some jobs are harder to fill than others. Technology is fluid; ever-changing in its need for people who are skilled in the newest (or sometimes oldest) tech stacks. At the end of the day, there are certain constants where you can’t be flexible: the right person who can do the job and has the requisite skills to meet your organizational goals. 

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t broaden your search to include a more diverse candidate pool. It is of the utmost importance that you understand what you need versus what you want.

If a more diverse pool of candidates is critical, tell your staffing agency. We can work with you to help you encourage diverse candidates, write more inclusive job descriptions, and communicate email & ad campaigns that show your commitment to diversity in your own workplace.

Encourage diverse backgrounds; non-traditional paths, location agnostic (as the job permits), different educational experiences, and people who are passionate about their craft.

Be vocal about your commitment by communicating with your staffing agency, your employees, and potential employees.


Auditing your hiring and interviewing practices can be daunting. Traditional ways of sourcing candidates are comfortable, but may not be providing the diversity that you are looking for. Ultimately, the person for the job has the right skills and the right fit –but if you’re limiting your search to geography, age, specific experiences, etc. , you might be missing out on talent that would otherwise be the perfect fit. If you are looking to review your process, let Talener help. Our team of experts can drill down into your process to help you get the best talent for you company. Reach out to Henry Boulos to get started.

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Posted in Client News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Employing Remote Workers: Considering Tax Presence & Ramifications

October 6th, 2020

If you are employing remote workers due to COVID-19 or thinking about a more remote-based workforce, consider the following tax implications.

COVID-19 has forced numerous companies to temporarily shutter their workplaces. This has resulted in in employees working at new or remote locations – be it a disaster recovery site, at home, at the home of a friend or relative, etc.  With the increasing availability of communication and productivity tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as the continued uncertainty of how to best keep their people healthy and safe, employers have been mixed on return-to-office timelines.  So, what do you need to know if you have individuals working remotely?

Remote work raises the question of whether an individual or a business has established a tax presence in a different state.  Tax presence, or nexus, is determined by 3 factors – payroll, property, and sales.

Payroll

Payroll taxes, or employment taxes, are an inevitable part of hiring and paying employees.  And they occur at both the federal and state level.  State income tax withholding is necessary for the state in which an employee provides services, not where the employee resides or the location of the company’s office.  Thus, remote work may cause some complications.  For example, an employee whose company’s office is in New York, but who lives in New Jersey and has spent time at a family’s home in Colorado during quarantine, may have earned income in 1 or all 3 of these states. 

Each state has its own rules as to the time an individual needs to work before considering income earned in that state.  For example, in some places, workers could owe taxes to their temporary state after just one day of work.  In others, it applies after a 30-day period.  Often, a taxpayer may get a credit from their home state for taxes paid to another.  It is therefore important to know where your employees are working.

The good news?  Currently, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have indicated that they won’t tax workers who have relocated temporarily due to the pandemic, according to the American Institute of CPAs.  Instead, those people will continue to pay taxes to the state where their employer is located.

What could this mean for you?

If you have employees whose remote working is not expected or deemed to be temporary, or you are hiring new employees into remote positions, you may have to withhold payroll taxes in these remote states.  Fortunately, registration is relatively easy.

  • Register your business with your state’s tax agency.  This will allow you to withhold and remit state withholding taxes.
  • Register for workers’ compensation insurance within your state.  All states, without exception, require that employers pay workers compensation insurance in case employees are unable to compete work.
  • Register for unemployment insurance with your state’s work force or employment agency.

Property & Sales

Property is fairly straight-forward.  If you have bought or rented property in a state, you may have created nexus there.  Creating sales nexus is more specific to the type of business you are in (i.e. product versus service). In addition to understanding whether your remote workers have created the need for you to file income or other regulatory filings within a state, one of the most important areas to be aware of is whether your business has become subject to sales and/or use taxes.

In summary, a remote working model may be advantageous to your business – beyond serving as a temporary solution while we continue to fight through the pandemic.  But it is important to understand the potential tax ramifications.

For employers:

  • Know where your employees are working from
  • Monitor their times spent working in that location
  • Stay up-to-date on guidance issued by states where you have employees

For employees:

  • Track the time spent working at your temporary remote location
  • Monitor your tax withholdings on each paystub
  • Communicate with your employer if you are planning to stay remote after it is time to return to the office

As we approach the end of the year, without a clear picture in sight for 2021, it is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of a remote or partially remote workforce. For many companies, the past several months were a fast-track introduction to remote work for their existing workforce.  If you are considering on-boarding new employees remotely, the Talener team can help you to fine-tune your process and create the best plan to hiring new staff in a remote environment. From expectations to geography, interview process to on-boarding – our team is available to you.


Questions? Contact the team at social.media@talener.com

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Posted in Client News, Talener Blog

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